UNITED NATIONS: The United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told a virtual meeting of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member states at the United Nations (UN) that countering anti-Muslim hatred and Islamophobia was his “top priority”, saying he “fully agreed” with the assessment that it could pose a threat to international peace and security, according to informed sources.
The UN chief was responding to the comments from Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN, Munir Akram, who drew his attention to the rising cases of anti-Muslim violence and Islamophobia in India, and urged him to adopt a more focused and consistent system-wise approach to fully tackle the menace.
While voicing his concern over the rise of Islamophobia, the secretary-general called for fighting this phenomenon collectively, the sources said.
Guterres was speaking at the meeting organized by OIC on the theme of “COVID-19 Solidarity: Promoting Co-Existence and Shared Responsibility”.
In his remarks, Ambassador Akram raised concerns about the alarming rise in Islamophobia and stigmatization of Muslims in India in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
He also highlighted the oppressive measures imposed in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir since August 5, last year when New Delhi annexed the disputed region in violation of UN resolutions.
While terming these developments a matter of “grave concern”, Ambassador Akram noted that such vitriolic hate speech, state-sponsored Islamophobia and deliberate targeting of Muslims in India was not only a human rights challenge but could also endangered peace and security in the region.